As part of Disney’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative at their theme parks and more, they have announced a Jungle Cruise reimagining project that will remove select scenes and replace them with new characters and a new, more cohesive storyline. As part of our coverage of the attraction, we wanted to create a single space where you can track the latest news and progress on the Jungle Cruise reimagining project! (Updated April 26th)
Jungle Cruise Reimagining Project
Disney has released a few pieces of concept art for the Jungle Cruise reimagining project so far. During their initial announcement, they released two pieces of concept art showing “gnu” magic in the rhino chase pole scene and a new scene featuring some mischievous chimpanzees. We’ll take a closer look at the new characters found in the scene below a bit later.
Almost two and a half months after the initial announcement, Imagineer Zach Riddley shared a new piece of concept art showcasing some curious chimps investigating some critters that fell off of the explorers’ boat.
Disney has announced the replacement of Trader Sam at the finale of the attraction. Instead, Trader Sam’s Gift Shop will replace the animated figure. Here’s a look at the concept art.
Jungle Cruise Reimagining Project Details
Jungle Cruise Movie
We’ll start with the “why”. While Disney has a new movie coming out featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt called Jungle Cruise, the changes that are being put into the attraction now are not due to the movie. Back in 2017, Johnson said that he was working with Disney Imagineers to “re-engineer and re-design the Jungle Cruise ride in all the Disney theme parks around the world”. What ever came of that project or idea might be lost to history, but you can read more in the story below.
Diversity and Inclusion
The real reason that Disney is making changes to the Jungle Cruise attraction is do further their Diversity & Inclusion projects around the theme parks. Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Portfolio Executive Chris Beatty spoke very directly about the Jungle Cruise changes and why they were being implemented. While you can read the full quote in our story below, Disney essentially wanted to get rid of the negative depictions of “natives” and ensure that all of the scenes were respectful of the diverse world we live in.
What scenes are changing?
While Disney hasn’t given a full breakdown of what scenes will be changing, we do know that the Rhino chase scene will be changing and that the section of the ride that involves “natives” will be changed, including Trader Sam. It’s also likely that the canoe scene pictured below will be changed as well to align with the removal of the natives further down the river.
Jungle Cruise Reimagining Project Dates
Disney has not given a completion date for the project, only that the Jungle Cruise reimagining project will be completed in 2021. Disney will not be closing the attraction for refurbishment to install the new scenes, so there is no real official reopening date. Disney will be starting work on the attraction soon, and guests floating along the ride will see some new magic throughout the summer.
As part of the changes, Disney will be introducing new characters with all-new backstories. Disney released official backstories for the characters recently. We took an earlier look at not only the new characters, but also a look at the departing characters in more of a deep dive in the story below.
One of the major new characters that we won’t even see on the attraction is Alberta Falls. Alberta is the granddaughter of Dr. Albert Falls. When Dr. Albert Falls vanished in 1930, Alberta took control of the company and vowed to preserve the reputation of the Jungle Navigation Company. Moreover, to ensure that her grandfather’s legacy would be remembered by people all over the world, she began to promote the guided tours that we know today as the Jungle Cruise.
Beyond Alberta, guests will also see the following new characters in the iconic Rhino chase scene:
- Felix Pechman XIII – Skipper
- Dr. Leonard Moss – Botanist
- Rosa Soto Dominguez – Painter
- Dr. Kon Chunosuke – Entomologist
- Siobhan “Puffin” Murphy – Bird watcher
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar
Despite the changes coming to the attraction, Disney has announced that they don’t have any plans to change either Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto in Walt Disney World or Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar in Disneyland.
Disney has announced that the newly reimagined Jungle Cruise will reopen on July 16th in Disneyland, and that work will be completed “this summer” at Walt Disney World. Because Walt Disney World’s version of the attraction never closed, there isn’t a “reopening” date. Disney may announce a completion date for Walt Disney World at a later time.
Current Progress and Latest News
June 7, 2021 – Another new scene has replaced the Pygmy Welcoming Party beach with an all-new Boats & Bites…and Bites! stand. Here’s our look at the new scene.
June 4, 2021 – The new “Trapped Safari” scene was installed overnight. While the narration for the cruise hasn’t been updated yet, we got a detailed first look at the new characters!
June 1, 2021 – Disney removed the tribal dancers from a section of the ride that has negative cultural depictions of natives.
On April 27th, Disney installed the new Trader Sam’s Gift Shop finale scene in the Walt Disney World version of the attraction. Check out our article below for more photos.
On April 26th, Disney announced that the former Trader Sam finale scene would be replaced with a new Trader Sam’s Gift Shop finale scene. In the new scene, Trader Sam would no longer be present, but his name would live on. Check out our story below for more details.
On April 15th, Disney removed the Rhino chase scene as part of the ongoing reimagining of the attraction. Disney also stripped the walls of much of the existing theming.
As part of the work to remedy “negative depictions of natives”, Disney removed the Trader Sam animatronic from Jungle Cruise on April 5, 2021.
Earlier this year, a single gorilla went suspiciously missing.
Disney has filed permits for the work in early April, but we as of publish time (April 3rd) we didn’t see any work taking place yet. Here’s our story on the permit that they filed, as well an an interesting timeframe.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!